Archive for the ‘Brain Trauma’ Category
Little Giant Steps is aware that traumatic events during early development can change to course of some areas of the brain. We see this phenomena occur with our clients who have been exposed to verbal abuse, trauma and deprivation. There are areas of the brain that respond to “Fight or Flight”. When a child is threatened daily by an exposive parent who yells and hollers at them, their developing brains are impacted. Typically, the result shows up as learning issues later on. The trauma to the central nervous system is repairable, but a parent needs to be aware of the dynamics their behavior when it comes to younger children.
One way I can relate is, I still go ballistic over an event that is prevalent with children under age five. What is the trigger? Spilling drinks at the table! Why does this send me into (as my son would say,) “The Red Zone? I really don’t know for a fact, but I suspect it was something that sent my dad (who was no longer in our household after I was four years old) into a rage when I was little. I have no recollection of any specific time it happened, I only remember the horrible feelings of “Fight or Flight” he could produce in a heart beat. He had a very powerful demeanor and thank goodness I was the youngest and the only girl in the family, as I witnessed very harsh punishment occurring with my brothers. I do recall having a hard time learning anything during the tumulchuous time before he left.
I am not unique in this experience. Whether parents stay together or divorce, a child suffers long lasting repercussions not only on an emotional level, but the development of all those connections stop when the “Fight of Flight” response is in play. We all must be aware it is during the early years when the brain is paring down all unused connections. In fact, over 50% of the connections a baby is born with will be pruned from the system if left unused and what mother nature thinks is un-needed!
We All Have A History
The details of our history is not as important as the resolve to stop that vicious cycle that not only make us behave in ways we do not desire, because it has a critical impact on those little ones with whom we are to be an example. If an adult is out of control, then the child will emotionally close down, but also learn to pattern his or her behavior after what they experience.
Several Ways To Go
First, just stop! Counting to ten can be very helpful to get past that initial flash of rage, which most likely is way out of proportion to the incident and for the child.
Next, breath at least five deep slow breaths. Get some blood to that brain of yours so you can think, rather than just react.
Finally, use your head. Did the child accidentally spill the glass of milk? (Or, whatever was done that has you so disturbed.) In all the times I recall my grandsons spilling things, it was never malicious, therefore the corrective action needs to reflect a solution to the accident and a discussion about how you and the child might avoid it happening again. In fact, it’s amazing if you will view this situation as it really is: The child has a problem that needs some help in solving. If you take on the ownership of the problem, nothing good can come out of that…. you’ve already learned how to avoid spilling things! Understand?
Children Are Capable Of Solving Problems, If You Help
Recount the (after you’ve gotten yourself over your rage) what’s happened. Even express to the child how distressed you are, if you need to. They can handle it, because they tend not to take on other peoples problems! Then ask them to help you. Ask how they think we can stop the spilling? Coach them to brain storm with you over this situation. It can move you out of the place of just being in “The Red Zone” and releave the child’s fear of you and stop with the impulse of Fight or Flight response. In fact, this kind of constructive problem solving can turn out to be a way to allow them to express their solutions very creatively. Once, my grandson and I drew a picture together showing the spilt milk and what we were going to do. It didn’t look like anything when we finished this “action” drawing, but he and I were both on the same side of the situation and solving something that made “Nana hit the fan”! Try to be creative. Move yourself and the child into a constructive bonding experience, rather than an explosion which can last a life time!
Daily I write about improving the academic abilities through the use of neuro-educational programs developed by Jan Bedell and Little Giant Steps. What I’ve not shared is that our programs works for those whose brains have suffered trauma. Today I’d like to share a story of my granddaughter who has always been considered gifted in school. However, following an accident that occurred while attending the State Basketball Tournaments, not only was her brain hurt, but we were concerned for her life, as well.
Kelsey and 15 other kids with their parents were enjoying the annual High School State Basketball Tournament. They all were staying at a large motel with an indoor swimming pool, and most of the group were relaxing around the pool following a day at the tournament. After about 30 minutes, the parents noticed the kids in the pool were acting strange. Some were struggling to get out of the pool, some collapsed once out on the deck. They called for help, then the parents began to suffer from similar symptoms. It didn’t take much after the firemen got there with the ambulances to determine all of these people were suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. All the kids and some of the parents ended up in the local hospital. Kelsey, my grandchild, was one who stayed there three days, because she was so badly poisoned. She was sent home on oxygen and her parents were told to keep an eye on her. She was on oxygen for a month. When she started to feel a bit better, she really wanted to return to middle school, as she didn’t want to get too far behind in her studies. Within two days of school, Kelsey began to panic, because she discovered she couldn’t think, her brain wasn’t functioning, regardless of how hard she tried. This went on for a few more days, and we saw her becoming more frightened and confused, I suggested we get her in for an evaluation with Jan Bedell at Little Giant Steps.
The Road To Recovery
We drove to Texas and after the evaluation we discovered our beautiful Kelsey, who was an honor student in her first year in middle school was only able to process auditory and visual information equivalent to that of a 5 and 6 year old . We were devastated. Jan steadied us and said she’d seen children with similar brain trauma come back with the neurodevelopmental approach, and felt confident Kelsey could be restored to much of her original state. She was young, healthy (except for this incident) and had a devoted family who could help to turn this situation around. Jan wrote an individual neuro-educational program for Kelsey. She recommended we take her out of middle school for now, as it was producing such enormous stress and a sense of total failure on her, enroll her in an online school NEW College Preparatory Academy, formerly Gateway Academy, and daily follow her Individual Neurodevelopmental Program. If she struggled too much with the academics, then just work the neurodevelopment program. She diligently followed the program for five months over the rest of the school term and summer. She re-entered middle school and to all of our delight, not only was she functioning back to normal, but her school testing showed she was even higher than before! Needless to say, we praise God for his healing mercy, and we were so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with Jan Bedell, Neuro-Educational Specialist from Little Giant Steps (Jan teaches through webinars, too). We couldn’t imagine these program activities would give Kelsey back all she’d lost and more, but it did. Now, I know the real power of God’s design, and what a natural approach to working with the plasticity of the brain can truly accomplish. We are so very, very blessed! Thank you, Jan and Little Giant Steps! CJ
Little Giant Steps is presenting part 2 with Kay Ness’s article regarding Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/ Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAS/FAE)
Sensory Dysfunction (cont.)
The difficulties in behavior, attending, and learning associated with FAS/FAE are usually caused by underlying sensory dysfunction. Children with inefficiencies taking in, integrating, organizing, and processing sensory information often become very confused, overwhelmed, emotional, and hyperactive. Neurodevelopmentalists commonly see children with the symptoms in the following areas:
- Hearing: Hearing may be hypersensitive to certain frequencies, or the individual may be unable to filter out sounds in a noisy environment- often manifested by degradation of behavior in these situations. ICAN Neurodevelopmentalists use Samonas Sound Therapy to normalize these insensitivities when indicated. This highly sophisticated sound therapy uses the most advanced technology in the world to retrain hearing and auditory processing problems, and ultimately helps improve reading skills in those with low auditory processing. Significant improvements in vestibular function and behavior are also seen with the use of sound therapy.
Vision: There are many areas of potential visual dysfunction. Central detail vision is extremely important (the ability to see things clearly/detailed at near-point). Of a child has low central detail vision, and also has overly developed peripheral vision, the child may be very visually distractible. The individual may also be overly sensitive to light, or they may experience tracking and/or convergence problems.
- Tactility: There are six main areas of tactility that the Neurodevelopmentalist addresses:
1. Light Tough – this is on the skin surface, and can be overly sensitive, making the individual very ticklish and sensitive to textures, labels in clothing, and seams in socks, culmination in much squirminess. This child typically does all types of inappropriate touching and is not aware of spatial boundaries. Nail biting and picking at the skin can also be symptoms of this problem. Light touch can be too low (hyposensitive) so that a child does not feel things of the skin much at all. Both can be addressed and normalize3d with specific stimulation techniques.
2. Deep Pressure – The deep sensors down next to the bone are responsible for pain sensation, muscle tone, proprioception, and overall coordination. Directly addressing this sensory system can improve all of these functions.
3. Temperature – (Hot and cold). We often see children who lack the ability to perceive temperature appropriately. Warm water may feel hot, or the child may not respond to hot or cold at all. He may dress the same in the winter and the summer.
4. Trigeminal – We see individuals who have a hypersensitive trigeminal nerve, which makes the very sensitive to tough on the head. This makes getting haircuts and general grooming a nightmare. Trigeminal hypersensitivity can also trigger sneezing in sunlight. If the trigeminal sensation on the head is too low, the individual may have a flaccid face.
5. Mouth tactility – This is important if it is interfering with normal function. Some individuals have overly sensitive mouths. They may avoid foods with certain textures; brushing teeth is uncomfortable; a dentist visit is almost impossible. Others have insensitive mouths. They may overstuff their mouths when eating (not sensing when it is full) or have articulation and tongue control problems.
6. Taste and smell – A person may be sensitive to tastes and smells to such an extent that he is distracted by and avoids food. If the mouth is not sensitive enough to taste and smell, unusual behavior may be observed (pica – the eating of inedible objects).
Our goal is to normalize function in all sensory areas. Stay tuned for our next installment of this very important information that can make such a positive difference in a child’s life, especially for a child affected by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effect.